Feature prioritization

24 Sep 2009 - 12:54am
4 years ago
4 replies
428 reads
dszuc
2005

Hi:

Was reading this article on "The Good Enough Revolution" -
http://www.wired.com/gadgets/miscellaneous/magazine/17-09/ff_goodenough
and this quote stood out to me:

"Even so, it's easy to imagine that feature creep will one day seep
into the Flip. After all, the company recently released models that
record in HD, so why not image stabilization or a bigger LCD—or hey,
how about a touchscreen! "We will always prioritize accessibility
over features," Fleming-Wood insists."

And thought this worked in well with recent discussions on the list
on Apple's product strategy.

So my questions are around prioritizing features:

* How do you it now?
* Who is involved?
* What questions do you apply when doing it?
* Is it something you can score?
* How can user research help?
* How do we move away from the features/more is better attitude?
* How do you plan to introduce features over time?

Over to the community brain ... compute :)

rgds,
Dan

Comments

24 Sep 2009 - 4:27pm
Robert Wünsch
2009

We recently started using a pretty simple approach with our interface design. I call it "Dream it up and burn it down."

First we dream about everything and anything that we want in the product or service - writing and scribbling it all down. When the list starts bursting we try to find the core idea of it all, stripping everything else away and burning it down. Sometimes we realize that through the creative process the original idea was replaced by another, better idea.

With only a small core idea left we create a working prototype for it and throw it at people with real tasks, daily work and thus real motivation to see where problems and wishes arise and how people expect things to work. Usability tests are ok, but real work and real motivation with real disappointment brings you quicker to the point.

With our initial list of dream features and the observed problems and wishes from users, we can quickly find new features. And to decide what new feature is next, we determine a score for practicality (how big is the need) and one score for emotionality (how much fun will it be) for each feature. The feature that scores highest on both scales together is next.

Features are introduced in very small steps (like Scrum sprints, but much shorter if complexity allows it) and often don't take more than 2 days to design and implement.

This way we were able to create interfaces that communicate just enough to get things done. And people enjoy working with it.

So far we haven't come to a point where the list of features should be limited. So not much experience to report there.

Sure, this method is more effective with small projects and doesn't work well with products or services that have to start at a high level of complexity (like the redesign of a well-established online shop). Although the score system (need & emotion) is useful there, too.

24 Sep 2009 - 10:48pm
dszuc
2005

Thanks Robert and enjoyed this -
http://www.goodproductmanager.com/2009/09/24/product-management-is-more-than-prioritizing-features/

rgds,
Dan

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45996

25 Sep 2009 - 2:18am
martinpolley
2007

Hey Dan,

I've been thinking about this a bit recently, and I have come to a
conclusion: Not all features are created equal.

By this I mean that there are some features that add to the functionality
and/or usability of a product *without getting in the way*, and ones that *do
get in the way* while adding something.

An example of the former (I think there are enough examples of the latter
already...). My old Sansa MP3 player can play video. So can my newer iPod
Nano. With the Sansa, if you stop watching a video in the middle and then
come back to it later, you have to start from the beginning and cue thru to
find where you were. The iPod remembers where you were. It even "rewinds" by
a few seconds to let you reorient yourself. This is a feature. But it's not
one that takes up "space" (i.e., where you have to add a new menu item or
whatever).

So I think that if we are talking about prioritizing features, it is worth
bearing in mind each feature's "cost" in terms of interface "space",
vis-a-vis the benefit that the feature provides.

I hope this makes sense :)

Cheers,

Martin Polley
Technical writer, interaction designer
+972 52 3864280
Twitter: martinpolley
<http://capcloud.com/>

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 1:54 AM, Daniel Szuc <dszuc at apogeehk.com> wrote:

> ...

> "Even so, it's easy to imagine that feature creep will one day seep
> into the Flip. After all, the company recently released models that
> record in HD, so why not image stabilization or a bigger LCD—or hey,
> how about a touchscreen! "We will always prioritize accessibility
> over features," Fleming-Wood insists."
>
> And thought this worked in well with recent discussions on the list
> on Apple's product strategy.
> ...

> rgds,
> Dan
>

25 Sep 2009 - 3:26am
dszuc
2005

Thanks Martin.

Makes perfect sense.

Suggest there are also features people expect when the look at a
product and around that, expect those features to move from start to
end well without getting in the way. If you can add something that
delights them further, something not expected (like the one you
mention in the ipod), it helps.

The article referenced also triggered some thoughts around taking out
stuff that may not matter as much to the user and doing the simple
stuff really, really well first, getting the core right and then
building from there.

rgds,
Dan

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45996

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